I arrived on Friday morning and spent the afternoon and evening catching up with everyone, hearing their piano skills, seeing their latest artwork and lego buildings. It was so good to catch up and see where everyone is at.
Friday night we went to Kirtland to the Creche exhibit where they have on display hundreds of creche, or nativity scenes from around the world. It was incredible. Nativity scenes made from banana leaves in Africa, to olive wood in Jerusalem, to crystal, ceramic, and wood.
Christmas Eve we had Ren's award-winning clam chowde' (really tasty, I even liked it) and did the nativity reading the script that Cathleen had prepared years ago and they pull out every year with the costumes. I was the angel thinking that I would have a lot of down time to take pictures and ooh and aww over the kids, but the angel in this script is pretty active.
Jaron was the best King Herod I've ever seen, complete with a fantastic death scene. Mairi was the sweetest Mary with her 'baby Ian' as the Christ child. Rowan was the donkey, Dallin was the stylish wise man and Ian was...the shepherd with his sheep (Fiona was the sheep). So fun!
Christmas morning was a blast! The kids scheme all year about what they give to each other, the result: creative gifts that everyone loves. They also take the time to open each gift, ooh and aww over it, try it on, talk about it and then move on. They hug each other for thanks and their eyes light up when their sibling tells them the cool features of their gift that is perfect for them. Lots of love in this home and it was a treat to be a part of!
Mairi's gift, a ruby necklace from Dallin. Ruby is her birthstone.
One of the best gifts...ninja costumes for Ian and Jaron, complete with split toe socks-for climbing walls...and wearing with flip flops?...:)
Leather gauntlets from Jaron to Rowan-to go with his medievil pants from Ian and cloak that he made years ago. Found them at a falconry shop online.
They surprised me with a laptop!
And a preying mantis shirt and "for love of insects" book for Ian. he also got specimens of scorpions in his Christmas jacket. He was SO happy. So fun to watch!
Rowan-16, just got his driving license and very elligible dating material. Not really in to dancing though, not even with me. Dallin-15...totally charming, considerate, thoughful and a real gentleman. Still rocks the piano and is in to running and eating healthy.
Ian-is still the bug man. Is brilliant with legos and knows just about everything about anything. And tucks his jeans in to his socks for extra style. Love it.
Jaron-is always doing something with his hands, he is brilliant at building things and cooking-who knew. He can whip up cookie batter like no big deal.
Mairi was my best girl friend...so fun to pal around with her painting nails and doing crafts. her brothers love and watch out for her. She is just a doll.
This trip was SO good. Great to catch up with everyone and see how well they are growing up and get some quality time with Ren. We had some great conversations, he straightened me out (j/k, I am always straight), we talked about dating and life, work and church.
On our way to the airport on Monday we stopped to see the Cleveland Clinic cause I wanted to see it. So he took me around, we saw the ICU, conference center, cancer wing, his office (yeah, he's legit!) and the pulmonology center/unit/wing. He was excited and I loved it! Way cool!